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Published: January 19th 2012
What a building!
Just over a week ago I left the chill of Sussex behind and flew to Dubai and am staying with my good friend, Lesley. (Sorry that Lars and Lillemor couldn't join us as was the original plan). For those of you who don’t know I was teaching in Dubai for 6 years and we left in 2004. The last visit was in 2006 just after Michael died – so I knew there would be many changes. But the scale of change in that time is staggering-- mile upon mile of construction of fabulous skyscrapers, roads, shopping malls, leisure and housing developments….and to top it all the tallest building in the world Burj Khalifa. Then at ground level there is a new public transport system something I never contemplated for Dubai – two metro lines run across the city over the Creek and North and South- added to which there are new busses linking the Metro to other areas and well designed beautiful clean Metro Stations. So no need to hire a car for me – with my nol card to swipe (Dubai version of the Oyster card) I have travelled extensively all over the city- visiting our old haunts in Bur
Dubai – walking by the Creek to Sheikh Zayed’s historic houses, the Bastakia quarter, watching dhows and abras on the water…. Also a quiet walk in Creekside Park –one of Michael’s favourite places to while away some sunshine hours.
There is often the unusual unique experience on my travels - and so it was that some old freinds here Chandana and Jack invited me to witness their renewal of marriage vows- a beautifully thoughtout service and it was a privilege to be part of that.
Lesley kindly drove the huge highways and did the tour of the new buildings – Atlantis at the Palm , the Marina and Jumeirah Residences and I had to remind myself that these didn’t exist and were once the simple beaches we would go to at weekends- sit by the sea under the beach umbrella with our sandwiches and thermos of tea. I think I preferred it the old way.
Of course Dubai has suffered in the recession and that is plain to see as many construction projects are halted and abandoned building sites are everywhere. However there is no denying the vision and scale of what has been accomplished in a
Nation only 40 years old.
A brief visit to my old school was a lovely way to meet up with more old friends and colleagues and as an Alumni rounders match was taking place some of the “old girls” I used to teach were there- all Emirati girls some were now married with babes and others were at university here and were very forward thinking about their country and what they want to achieve. Lovely to see what their education has achieved for them…and funny to look back at what they were like in the classroom – some of them bl***y pests and now here they were confident lovely young women !!! It made me feel that my time teaching them wasn’t wasted!!!
So now I will shut up and leave you to look at the fotos- suffice to say at the Burj Khalifa ( 200 stories) I took the trip “At the Top” which actually goes very fast in the lift to the 128th
floor to the observation deck- it is a miracle of modern architectural design and engineering – and the surrounding mall with its shops restaurants and water park with fountains is beautiful – they
had just started building it before we left and as we lived just along the road it was something for me to come back and see it finished. AMAZING!!
Back soon – I am in Oman now xxx
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